United Democratic Front (UDF) member of Parliament (MP) for Mangochi South MP Lillian Patel has claimed that she has “evidence” that former president Bakili Muluzi’s K1.7 billion 12–year-old corruption case is politically motivated.
The Constitutional Court in Blantyre upheld the ‘validity of some sections of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) which obliges Muluzi and all public servants to account for their wealth.
Muluzi, Malawi’s president from 1994 to 2004, was arrested in 2005 by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly diverting into his personal accounts what the State claimed was donor money amounting to $11 million. But cord records shows there was no donor funds diverted and that funds were from Libya directly to Muluzi for political campaign of UDF for Muluzi’s handpicked successor layte Bingu wa Mutharika.
“I want Members to know in this House that our former President is suffering, being tortured and it is a politically motivated trial,” Patel claimed in the House.
“I have the evidence which I can bring to this House,” she added.
But Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya said the matter cannot be discussed in the National Assembly but the courts.
“The suffering that you have can be addressed by the courts and it is not for this House, Honourable Members, to actually say that the case itself is right that the crime was committed or not committed.
“The Constitution provides an institution within the laws of this country, a body that can deal with that matter and that body has seized that matter and they are providing guidance in their several rulings. Let us not get involved in this. We have a constitutional provision under separation of powers that the courts are the ones,” said the Speaker.
Muluzi, 74, and his former personal secretary, Lyness Whiskey, are answering the charges of corruption on the money which government alleged was public funds diverted to the former President’s personal account.
The funds were reportedly given to Muluzi directly from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya for the campaign of late Bingu wa Mutharika, his hand picked successor under UDF.
The trial begun in 2006 and to date it has not been concluded, making it one of the most dragged high-profile criminal cases in the country.
The former president has denied any wrongdoing and also claims the charges were politically inspired.
The State added a loan transaction of about K20 million ($27 397), which Muluzi took from Loita Bank, to be considered as “money obtained corruptly.”
So far over K600 million was struck off when prosecution witness, Victor Banda, a former assistant director and head of prosecution for Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) , agreed that the money should not be part of the cumulative figure as there was no indication it was corruptly acquired.
The deductions, among others, include K11 million whose method of payment was a loan deposited into Muluzi’s account at Loita Investment Bank and a K80 million loan from Stanbic Bank (now Standard Bank) which Muluzi got for the construction of Keza Office Park.
The trial opened in 2009 but has been subjected to several adjournments, partly because of Muluzi’s hospitalizations related to spinal problems. Both sides reject allegations that they have been deliberately delaying proceedings.
Local press reports indicate that the State had spent as much as $12 million on the case.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :